Comment on new approach to early years

Published: Wednesday 12th September 18

Wandsworth parents are to be given a chance to comment on a new way of providing services for young children and their families.

The council’s Thrive strategy, agreed by councillors earlier this year, will form the basis of the council’s approach to early years help, with a new team of officers in place to make sure it is delivered.  It looks at the whole family and focuses on preventing problems rather than just reacting to them.

Thrive aims to address inequalities so that all children start school with the same strong foundation. Families will be given the high quality services and interventions they need, when they need them.

The Thrive strategy includes

  • Offers of help for families that need support but do not necessary meet social care thresholds
  • Extra support from the Health Visiting service when new parents have post-natal depression or are in difficult circumstances
  • Information and signposting from the Family Information Service (now renamed Thrive Online)
  • More joined up working with partners including the police, health services and schools
  • ‘Stay, play and learn’ services where parents can stay with their children while they learn
  • Encouraging takeup of free early learning places for two, three and four year olds
  • The development of Hubs bringing together services for children and families

The first new THRIVE hub will be based at the Yvonne Carr Children’s Centre providing services for Battersea. It will continue to offer children’s centre services, plus 2-year-old nursery places and a wider range of services for the whole family and will be fully operational in 2019.

The second THRIVE hub serving the whole borough will be based in a brand-new community facility being built in York Road near Clapham Junction which will be ready in 2023.  This will offer provision for children, adolescents and families, including a library, nursery, clinical space and more.

Meanwhile, while the new York Road facility is being built, the existing York Gardens site will increase the number of nursery places it provides for two, three and four-year-olds. Key services such as health visiting and family support will also be offered on this site.

In Tooting the Franciscan Children’s Centre will merge with Hillbrook Children’s Centre. There will be an enhanced service at Hillbrook and the Franciscan site will be used to provide more free 2-year-old places plus family support.

All local parents of children aged five and under are being asked for their views on what services they currently use and how they feel services could best help them.

Cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “Thrive represents a new approach to services in Wandsworth for families with young children.  We recognise that support must be available for the whole family rather than just the child, and that at times all families may need a little extra help – not just those that would be eligible for traditional social services.

“Let us know what you think about the proposed changes and the new hubs to help us provide the services that young families say they need.”

Visit for details on how to comment.

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